Kauai Culinary Market features a relaxed setting for meeting local vendors in Poipu. // © 2016 Kukuiula
Feature image (above): The oceanside Poipu Bay Golf Course draws all levels of golfers to its championship greens. // © 2016 Poipu Bay Golf Course
Like most seaside destinations, Poipu draws travelers who love the beach. With its beautiful sands, relatively calm waters and clear, dry weather, the south Kauai getaway presents a perfect setting for aquatic activities.
However, Poipu offers visitors much more than ocean fun. From gardens and cultural sites to sports and shopping, its list of pastimes is long and inviting. Here are five of the many reasons for spending time in sunny Poipu.
Allerton and McBryde Gardens
These neighboring gardens immerse clients in a botanical fairyland. At Allerton, landscape designs are graced by gazebos, statues and water features. Guests meander through stands of bamboo, palms and tropical fruit trees and marvel at the huge Moreton Bay fig trees seen in the movie “Jurassic Park.” McBryde Garden, which boasts the world’s largest collection of native Hawaiian flora, wows visitors with the likes of orchids, heliconias and dazzling red, yellow and orange coral trees.
Kauai Culinary Market
This alfresco gathering takes the average farmers market concept and turns it into a relaxing afternoon party. Each Wednesday from 3:30 to 6 p.m., local vendors display products such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, honey, coffee, spices, jams, cheeses and baked goods. Island chefs present cooking demonstrations, and a beer/wine garden and live music add to the upbeat atmosphere. Look for the market in Kukuiula Shopping Center, a congenial hub with plantation-style buildings and a mix of stores, galleries and eateries.
Koloa Heritage Trail
The Poipu region is loaded with historical and cultural landmarks. On this 10-mile self-guided trail, visitors learn more about the area at their own pace as they walk, bike or drive. Fourteen signs on lava-rock foundations point out notable sites including the legend-rich Spouting Horn Park. There’s also the birthplace of Hawaii’s Prince Kuhio; the former whaling port at Hanakaape Bay; and the Yamamoto Store, built at the turn of the 20th century. Maps are available from area resorts and Poipu Beach Resort Association.
Ready to soar like Superman? This activity company encourages clients to do just that, courtesy of its Flyin’ Kauaian Harness, which lets participants safely zipline hands-free — even upside-down, if they’re game. The firm also features tandem ziplining for riders of lighter weight. With eight lines, including the longest line on Kauai, its 3.5-hour tour presents aerial views of south shore landscapes. Koloa’s sunset tour, another unique offering, culminates in thrilling zipping under the stars.
Poipu Bay Golf Course
Ever since it hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994-2006, this captivating Robert Trent Jones., Jr.-designed course has been a must-play for passionate golfers. Beginners also enjoy Poipu Bay Golf Course thanks to jaw-dropping scenery, from sculpted mountains and ancient stone walls to ocean panoramas. Additional lures include golf carts with satellite navigation to help with calculating distances, free bottled water, youth programs and a variety of clinics and lessons.